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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2002

    GNU -- How exactly can it be used?

    Here is my "problem", if you wish to call it that.

    I am developing an application (it doesn't really matter what it is ), which is to be released under some license, but that is NOT the GNU license. I wish to include in my application, and allow my application to use a specific piece of a GNU-licensed application (specifically the GUI).

    Now, the GNU FAQ contains the following, which puzzles me:

    Mere aggregation of two programs means putting them side by side on the same CD-ROM or hard disk. We use this term in the case where they are separate programs, not parts of a single program. In this case, if one of the programs is covered by the GPL, it has no effect on the other program.
    Combining two modules means connecting them together so that they form a single larger program. If either part is covered by the GPL, the whole combination must also be released under the GPL--if you can't, or won't, do that, you may not combine them.

    What constitutes combining two parts into one program? This is a legal question, which ultimately judges will decide. We believe that a proper criterion depends both on the mechanism of communication (exec, pipes, rpc, function calls within a shared address space, etc.) and the semantics of the communication (what kinds of information are interchanged).

    If the modules are included in the same executable file, they are definitely combined in one program. If modules are designed to run linked together in a shared address space, that almost surely means combining them into one program.

    By contrast, pipes, sockets and command-line arguments are communication mechanisms normally used between two separate programs. So when they are used for communication, the modules normally are separate programs. But if the semantics of the communication are intimate enough, exchanging complex internal data structures, that too could be a basis to consider the two parts as combined into a larger program.
    So, say this were to be a web application coded in PHP, would leaving the entire GUI in a separate .php file and placing that .php file and all of the related images and css files in one directory, and then just including that php file from the rest of the pages be allowed? Or would I need to use something similar to wget to grab the gui from that file?

    I am a little confused, as this appears to be a rather blurry area. Now, don't take this the wrong way. In no way will I ever intend to nor purposefully violate someone elses rights to existing code/graphics/etc., and that is why I am asking here what is legal and what is not. I don't want to violate someone else's copyrights. I have been trying to contact the original author to obtain permission to use the code outright, but cannot get a response from them.

    Thanks in advance


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    If modules are designed to run linked together in a shared address space, that almost surely means combining them into one program.

    That about sums it up -- they'll run under Apache's allocated memory, thus they're "almost surely" one program.
    C#/C++/TCL/Python/PHP developer.
    mark at mark org il

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